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Sunday, 28 June 2020

‘It wasn’t an interview – it was an interrogation’: How asylum seekers are made to feel ‘like criminals’ during Home Office questioning


28th June 2020

‘It wasn’t an interview – it was an interrogation’: How asylum seekers are made to feel ‘like criminals’ during Home Office questioning
[…] In other cases, asylum seekers spoke of male interpreters being allocated when a female interpreter had been requested, or allocation of an interpreter who spoke the incorrect dialect or poor English, making it more difficult for them to explain their account fully to the caseworker.
One woman, Sara, told the researchers: “I requested for a female interpreter and female caseworker, but both were male ... Since I had [a] male interpreter, I couldn’t concentrate on the interview. I was just thinking of the interpreter ... I told [the caseworker], ‘I can’t share everything.’ They said, ‘Okay, that’s fine.’”
Ahmad, from the Middle East, meanwhile describes having to explain being tortured for freedom of expression in his home country through an interpreter who he said couldn’t speak a high standard of English.
“Imagine trying to explain that there had been a massacre, and your translator having to search for the appropriate word on Google,” he says. “I can speak some English, and when I heard the interpreter translating my words wrong, I would try to speak for myself, but the interviewer kept on telling me to answer in Arabic for the translator.
“I tried to explain that I needed to speak for myself as the interpreter was not saying what I was saying, but I was silenced. Worse yet, between the agonising misinterpretations – they didn’t even get to the bottom of my story.”
Ahmad was initially refused asylum, but was granted on appeal. He has now completed a master’s and plans to become a pharmacist.
He adds: “My application was denied because of the issues with my interpreter. When I saw what the Home Office thought my story was, it was completely wrong. The interpreter had mistranslated my story into a different version of the truth.” […]

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Criminal court statistics quarterly: January to March 2020

 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-court-statistics-quarterly-january-to-march-2020

25 June 2020

Criminal court statistics quarterly: January to March 2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-court-statistics-quarterly-january-to-march-2020

 

PQs: 25th June 2020



Sentencing Bill [HL] - Second Reading
– in the House of Lords at 4:30 pm on 25th June 2020.

[…] However, this issue has gone on for far too long, and wrong sentencing decisions have been very evident in reviews of the justice system. Reading them suggests that as much as 36% of sentencing has been wrongly attributed. Let us not forget that a huge court closure programme—especially in my own area, south Wales—and the lack of interpreters in court proceedings, have added to these delays. A clear way forward must now be established, so that the public can have faith in a system of sentencing and those sentenced given a fair judgment. […]

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

How video hearings broke justice and stripped people of their rights


24 June 2020

How video hearings broke justice and stripped people of their rights
[…] The problems caused during the pandemic can be exacerbated when cases involve a person suspected to have Covid-19. People have ‘appeared’ in court through the small window of a cell door. Their heads barely visible and voices barely intelligible thanks to the echoing hallway and poor connection as they’re far from the Wi-Fi router.
In one case a defendant with limited English who had coughed on an officer appeared through his cell window, English was his second language and he had no interpreter. The connection was poor and so was the audio. His solicitor in court couldn’t remind him of her advice. He chose a jury trial before saying: “I don’t understand this, that, crown court,” then asking for his solicitor, which the judge refused: “It’s not a matter for your solicitor, you elected to go to crown court.”
“It’s just not justice, it’s a farce,” says Gibbs, who observed that case from the public gallery in May. “What I’m worried about from a justice point of view is that defendants are not getting a fair hearing and that they’re not getting an option to appear in person.” […]